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"The real issue is the Community method" During yesterday's debate in Parliament on the Intergovermental Conference, Mr Jacques Delors, President of the Commission, described the outcome as a step forward, given the difficulties currently besetting the European Community. But Mr Delors was quite clear about the Commission's reasons for the dissatisfaction with the Conference's conclusions : the conditions for completion of the internal market, the lack of consistency between various Community policies, and Parliament's role in decision-making. If the Conference's limited achievements were to be turned into a success, the use of qualified majority voting would have to be extended, more powers would have bo be delegated to the Commission and the Community's democratic base would have to be strenghtened by involving Parliament to a greater extent. Mr Delors called on the three institutions to mend their ways so that the progress made possible by the Conference could be exploited to the full. Mr Delors went on to give his own interpretation of the Conference. He stressed the importance for the further development of the Community of the notion of "active differentiation" being accepted. This would allow those Member States who so wished to advance in specific areas, such as the internal market and monetary or technological cooperation, in the hope that the others would eventually follow. Mr Delors added that the solidarity which underpinned the very idea of the Community was a matter for the Ministers. Referring to discussions on the fixed cross-channel link and the Westland affair, Mr Delors critized wide-spread scepticism of the Community method. The real issue was whether Member States still regarded the Community method as the basis of their cooperation. - 2 - "The real issue is the Community method. It is not sufficient to praise it, it must be put into practice. I believe that this is the challenge which is now facing the Council, the Commission, and the Parliament, a challenge which Parliament must take seriously : in today's twelve-nation Community, is the Community method still the best way of allowing individual countries to take advantage of the European dimension, the best way of building a Europe which will have something to say in the year 2.000. The answer is yes or no. If we answer yes, we must draw the appropriate conclusions. It is in the hope that everyone will do just this that the Commission, despite its reservation and without any illusions, is giving its reasoned assent to the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Conference. This in no way diminishes our enthusiasm or our determination to go on building this Europe of ours".